Recently divorced from her high school sweetheart, Grace is trying to forge a new life in LA, but a rebellious 14-year-old daughter and her dying best friend draw her back to her Wisconsin hometown.
Grace Holm-D’Angelo feels adrift after her divorce from Brian, her high school boyfriend. Moving from Chicago to LA to work with Ken, a renowned set designer and one of her two best friends, is difficult on her and her teen daughter, Emma, and things get worse once Leeza, Grace and Ken’s other best friend, begins to lose her battle with breast cancer in their hometown of New London, Wis. When Emma pushes one boundary too many and finds herself in a dangerous situation, Grace takes a leave of absence and heads to Wisconsin for a few months with her wayward daughter. During the visit, she must face her own secrets and insecurities and finds that she is helped in this through reconnecting with her own heritage and past, particularly in her mother’s kitchen with an old wooden recipe box that’s been in her family for generations. Emma and Grace meet new neighbors and become entwined in the New London community, though they both have their feet straddled between Wisconsin and LA. Coming to terms with their own hopes and fears, the mother and daughter reconnect in powerful ways—to each other, Grace’s mother and their own potentials as they navigate difficult choices and fortuitous opportunities. Food Network celebrity Sandra Lee has penned a decent story with her first foray into “food fiction,” complete with recipes between chapters—nothing groundbreaking or transcendent but a competently drafted book which will satisfy the right crowd. Slow in some parts, and with some awkward storytelling and segues as well as an overly dramatic reaction to a past secret that readers are asked to believe shadowed every aspect of Grace’s life, the book still offers a generally heartwarming tale of a mother and daughter who are facing real-life problems and show the courage and determination to confront them, along with some clever details that flesh out the story in unique, surprising ways.
Fans of Lee will likely find this a fun, quirky addition to her eclectic media presence.